Asix-member team of the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI) visited different areas of Biridi, Jagatsinghpur, Balikuda, Erasama to prepare Techno-Economic Feasibility Reports to revive and rejuvenate Alaka river as a major fish source last week and interacted with local people, fishermen and higher officials of fishery department.

Source said that the reminder of a colonial past of the state, the Alaka River, is in a dire need of its renovation to sustain the livelihood of thousands of people of Jagatsinghpur district.

Ravaged by time and more significantly, state indifference, the river which was full of water has been dried due to its encroachment and polluted by wastages and sewerage.

The river had provided sources of sustenance to thousands of villagers of Biridi, Jagatsinghpur, Balikuda and Erasama blocks. After the water flow was blocked and choked, the river gradually lost its significance.

Villagers of five panchayats of Balikuda block had united and formed Alaka Surkhya Abhiyan for its preservation and protection.

A NGO named ‘Society for Upliftment of Nation’ (SUN) led by Mr Ratnakar Nayak had filed PIL in Odisha High Court in 2016 for praying to evict illegal encroachment of Alaka river from Birabarapatana of Biridi block to Bay of Bengal of Erasama block, to augment irrigation potential, to protect the first depleting ground water, renovation, etc. SUN had demanded to construct an escape at the zero point by water resource department to draw surplus canal water into dead Alaka, to construct sluice-gate by the drainage division for conservation of water for agriculture, pisi-culture etc.

The CIFRI team from Kolkata led by senior scientist Mr S.K. Das accompanied with five scientists visited different areas of Biridi block and to prepare a detailed project report which will include planning and designing of fishing base, engineering design of associated structures, preparation of construction drawings, estimates, economic evaluation, socio-economic aspects, cost benefit analysis and management related aspects and other project related documents etc.

District Fishery Officer Mr Gyanranjan Samal said team had also collected water and soil samples. The fishery department had been submitted a project proposal to spare about 25 hectors of land of Alaka River for fish farming to state government.